The majority of the American public knows little to nothing about illegal immigration. The American public definitely has strong opinions about illegal immigration and undocumented immigrants but knows little to none of the details. This lack of knowledge may be due to the fact that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not reveal much information to the public in regards to immigrants in detention.
A lawsuit was filed against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) two weeks ago. The lawsuit was filed due to the lack of information released about detainees in detention centers and inspection records of these facilities. The point of this lawsuit is to engrain in the government and its various arms the obligation to the public to release information.
We as the American public do not know who is held in detention, why they are held there or for how long. We also do not know the conditions these detainees are living in or how these detainees are being treated. One reason behind governmental organizations such as (ICE) not revealing information is due to the 9/11 attacks. After the attacks on September 11th, the U.S. government has been careful as to what information they make public. However, not releasing information about detention centers is a whole other story. Most of those held in detention are not major threats to the security of the United States and Americans.
In July of this year, the National Immigrant Youth Alliance went undercover to assess the situation of detention centers and interview detainees. Those who infiltrated the detention center found 60 individuals to have no criminal record at all. Of course, ICE denies these claims saying that the National Immigrant Youth Alliance does not have all the information to state such claims. However, it is widely known, at least among those involved in immigration rights that there are many low-priority immigrants held in detention.
It does not make sense to me why immigrants who are here just to work, to sustain themselves who are also contributing to our economy are being placed in detention when other undocumented immigrants who are serious offenders are not. The United States government and branches such as ICE should prioritize whom they detain, especially if they state their motives as being ones to protect national security.
As citizens of the United States, we should care about where our taxes dollars are going. Our tax dollars are going towards paying for the detention of low-priority undocumented immigrants. However, most Americans do not know this due to the information gap. We as the American people should be aware of where are taxes are going, thus the government should inform us about undocumented immigration in our country.
Undocumented immigration affects us all as American citizens. The fact that a small minority of citizens is educated about or even care about undocumented immigration is striking. It is time that our government is open with us about their workings that directly and indirectly affect us. This information should no longer be hidden from us. Undocumented immigration needs to be transparent. Only through this transparency will change come about. Only through this, can members of the government begin to think about immigration reform.
One thing that I’ve learned a lot about over the past few weeks is detention center infiltration. At first it really surprised me how people are so willing to risk deportation and their freedom in order to expose the truth about what goes on the inside of the prison industrial complex, and to help and inform the people within. There are both really happy stories of inmates who were able to get lawyers because of the infiltrations, as well as sad stories of low-threat detainees who had already signed deportation papers by the time the organizers had gotten in. I think the privatization of detention centers is a really interesting an unjust issue that doesn’t get enough attention and isn’t acknowledged enough as an immigration issue. Undocumented immigrants don’t have too much political power to improve the situation, so these risky and sometimes self-sacrificing infiltrations are really important to them to expose injustice, improve the treatment of their people, and end the criminalization of their communities.
I feel that in addition to considering the fact that ICE detains undocumented immigrants who have no criminal record and that come to this country with the sole purpose of obtaining a better life for themselves and their families not only does take away from our federal taxes, but also should consider the forms in which undocumented immigrants are detained and the impacts of these arrests. I feel that as a nation we need to investigate more thoroughly the experiences of undocumented immigrants, especially their experiences with authorities and police enforcement. It would be an awakening experience for America to dive into their lives and realize the hardships they face in their native country, throughout their migratory journey, and in the Unites States, the country they sought to find peace and well-being for themselves and their families.